The chairman/CEO/Owner of our company died recently. It was not unexpected as he was in failing health and pretty old. The wake is today and the funeral is tomorrow.
I am going to neither.
I find this is a bit of a tricky situation (as funerals often are) which I do not have the skills to properly navigate. I was not invited to the wake or funeral (are their invitations to such things?), but a couple people at work have asked me if I was going.
Since this is a privately held, family owned company in which I am newly minted “management”, there seems to be this underlying expectation that maybe I should go and pay my respects.
It’s kind of like “Are you going? You don’t have to go… But you are welcome to go. Other people are going….”. Classic Minnesota passive-aggressive.
The thing is– I have never met the man.
Yes, he was still the chairman of our company, but he wasn’t ever here. He was basically retired, but liked to keep a hand in the operations to some extent. Six or eight months out of the year he lived in Florida. The rest of the time he was “around”. Maybe.
At least he had an office and a parking space (that other family members always parked in).
I think I had seen him a couple times leaving the parking lot from afar. And maybe exchanged a hallway nod once or twice. But I had never been introduced to him– not even when I started work here.
My rule with funerals is: if I’ve never come to your home, why would I come to your funeral?
I think this is a pretty good rule. If I’ve been to your home, that means we are more than just casual acquaintances in my book. It still may not mean I think attending your funeral is appropriate, but at least we have some sort of connection.
Funerals, to me, are a time for friends and family of the deceased to gather. I was neither. I am just one of the semi-anonymous worker bees at a company he owned. And welcome or not, I would feel completely out of place at the funeral of some guy I didn’t know, never spoken with or even formally met.
Just because he signed my paycheck does this make be obligated to attend his funeral?
What say you all?